Ask the Grumpies: Favorite books for pre-readers?

Leah asks:

Fave books for kids not quite ready to read?  We’re rocking a lot of Curious George, Corduroy, and Pout Pout Fish. Just looking for new library reads for my 2.5 year old who LOVES books.

Rented Life adds:

My kid, same age, loves books too. I second that question.

Allyson adds:

I also have a two-year-old and we could use good library reads, lots of books in the house already. Her fave is Where is Spot? and we have it in English and Spanish. Lift-the-flap books are big in my house. Can I add a request for recommendations of classic children’s books in Spanish that may be easy to find? Some translations seem to work with the rhythm of the originals and some are more literal and not as much fun to read.

First up, check out the comments in this recent post.

Leah– one series I would add to that list is the Froggy books.  Those along with the Clifford books hit our DC’s interest at the same time as Curious George.

Allyson– Our favorite lift the flap books are the ones by Karen Katz, of Where is Baby’s Belly Button fame.  She has a bunch of these.  We also loved Dear Zoo.  A related much loved cut-out book is Where’s that cat?  There are a ton of Where’s Spot books as well, though I am not a fan of the Easter one (the kids like it, but it bugs me that [spoiler] Spot finds an egg on the table after mean old female hippo tells him to get off the table; Spot also gets more eggs).

Spanish translations: Our favorite Spanish translations are Buenas Noches Luna and Insectos asombrosos (which you probably won’t find).  We also like the bilingual books by Eric Carle, such as Animals Animales — these are fun because they have moving pieces.  Our DCs also really loved My First Spanish Word Book.  We do have a bunch of other Spanish translations but they’re not popular.  Wandering Scientist is probably good for asking for other suggestions.

Our general recommendations for these age groups are:  Anything by Sandra Boynton, anything by Mo Willems.  These will age well as your child ages.  Your children are probably also on the cusp of being able to sit still for Red Fish Blue Fish or Dr. Seuss’s ABCs or Go Dog Go! or Put Me in the Zoo, but you could also wait another year.  They will definitely like the board book versions which are shorter.


Books for 3 year olds

Favorite children’s books (this has a number of classics like The Little Engine that Could and Ferdinand and The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes)

What say you, Grumpy Readers?

13 Responses to “Ask the Grumpies: Favorite books for pre-readers?”

  1. Calee Says:

    For that age range we love to offer the Little Hoo books by Brenda Ponnay. They’re also available in Spanish and bilingual editions.

  2. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Today I called the House Financial Oversight Committee number again (see activism tab) because Trump is still being a producer on celebrity apprentice. The guy answering my call was INCREDIBLY rude and gave me a screed about Obama being corrupt and needing to investigate his corruption before they can even think about a time-line for Trump. He gave his name as Richard Wilson, which may or may not be his actual name, and said he was the front desk supervisor and there was nobody to complain to about him unless I wanted to call my elected official.

    I am beginning to suspect that these guys on the phone at the House Financial Oversight Committee are not actually documenting all of the calls that they’re getting.

    And I don’t know what to do about it. Any suggestions? I did leave a message with the democratic number for the same committee.

    Note: I do not think this means people should stop calling. They should. You should. It’s possible that only this one dude is horrible and corrupt.

    • Rosa Says:

      call your Representative’s office and complain, like he said. And follow up with an email because you know they are very busy and you want to make sure they have the details of what happened.

  3. crazy grad mama Says:

    I see that Pete the Cat books haven’t been mentioned yet—they’re very popular with my two-year-old.

  4. Lisa Says:

    My little ones have loved the Virginia Lee Burton books (Mike Mulligan and the Steam shovel, Choo Choo, Maybelle, etc.). Also Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal. Elmo lift the flap books are a favorite of my current 2-year old. My oldest loved The Boxcar Children when she was 2 (we easily read it a dozen times in a row before I could get her to let me read something else), but she is an odd little duck.

  5. Cloud Says:

    I have a somewhat irregularly updated kids’ book blog, which I started to provide content for my author website, but continue because I like the idea of documenting which books we’ve loved. Here is one that is “off the beaten path” and that my kids really loved:

    That’s a link to the book blog, so you can poke around and find other things, too.

  6. Miser Mom Says:

    In addition to Sandra Boynton (who you already mentioned), my pre-readers have loved books that get the readers talking back to the book. “Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” is a true favorite (the pigeon keeps asking to drive, and the kid has to keep saying “no”). Also, there are a bunch of Sesame Street books like that — “The Monster at the End of the Book” has Grover begging kids not to turn the pages; there’s a book about a “museum” where kids put their ears on the ear in the book, or lie down to take a nap on a rug in the book . . . a lot of neat interaction. I don’t remember the title of that last one, because we loved that book to its death.

  7. Rented Life Says:

    Daniel Tiger has been a big hit. (So dull for mama.) as have Jan Brett books. Strangely enough our child likes poetry and sits though these old kids poems books my husband found. Zoe also sat through the Little Prince which surprised me. (Read over multiple days.) Zie will be 3 in two weeks.

    We also love Dragons Love Tacos, Those Darn Squirrels Fly South, the Princess and the Pony, and the Missing Piece. That’s our main rotation lately.

  8. afunai Says:

    I find lots of great book recommendations for all ages at my 2 year old loves Froggy books, books by Doreen Cronin, Little Owl books, Sandra Boyton books, Dr. Seuss, and any book with superheros.

  9. Allyson Says:

    And this is why I love this blog – excellent posters as well as an excellent comment section. You all are the best! I second Eric Carle (we have the bilingual Caterpillar) and Buenas Noches Luna. I think it might have been Five Little Monkeys that didn’t work for me in a direct translation. We have Dear Zoo somewhere… And my favorite read-aloud right now is The Book with No Pictures, although it tends to work better for the 4yo. Usborne books just came out with a set of books where you shine a light from behind and see silhouettes to answer questions on the page – I liked the human body one although we have the construction site due to popular demand.

  10. fizzchick Says:

    Donde esta la oveja verde?/Where is the green sheep? is a nice bilingual board book. For the real little ones we loved the Usborne touch books – dinos was especially popular, but there are seasonal ones and all sorts of things.

  11. Leah Says:

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear has a nice Spanish translation. I also have several newer books in both languages that are good. Just one More (solo una mas) is a favorite here. We’re in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library area and also a fairly bilingual town, so many of our monthly books have both languages.

    Oh, we have loved those Usborne touch books — that’s not my piggy and that’s not my dragon are her favorites. She reads those to herself now ;-)

    Bubba and Beau is another favorite. A friend suggested books by Mem Fox (I think), so we’ll check those out soon. Neil Gaiman has kids books that are fun, tho the dangerous alphabet actually is scary, and we couldn’t read it (two pages in, and both pages “scary, scary, no more, no”). She likes his Chu books. We wander around the library and pull out books, and I screen for things that look awful. A random fun one is called Serious Farm. Road Works and the related Construction book (about building a library) are both great.

    Re: Spanish books, does your library have a Spanish section? Ours does, so that’s where I get some more of my bilingual reads.

  12. chacha1 Says:

    I just found out about two really cute books by Teagan White. She illustrated (beautifully) an article in the current Nature Conservancy magazine.

    Adventures with Barefoot Critters – and ABC book; and
    Counting with Barefoot Critters

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